Rearranged Fighting Fifth enters the equation for Shishkin

By Sports Desk December 02, 2023

Nicky Henderson is considering running Shishkin in the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown next Saturday.

The Seven Barrows handler is eager to get a King George VI Chase prep run into his multiple Grade One scorer, after refusing to race at Ascot in the 1965 Chase and also seeing a planned run in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle lost to the weather.

A lack of options over fences has now seen Henderson toy with the idea of reverting Shishkin to the smaller obstacles, as well as dropping back to two miles, for the rearranged Grade One that reopens on Monday.

That would of course pave the way for Constitution Hill – who also missed out on an outing at Newcastle – to head straight to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Christmas Hurdle, although the trainer is yet to finalise plans with the unbeaten superstar’s owner Michael Buckley.

“Michael is coming down here and we will talk and we have to consider the timing,” said Henderson, speaking at Newbury.

“Shishkin was the horse I really wanted to run, I cannot believe he would win a King George first time out.

“He’s got to try to have a run and I have a little idea. He might have to come and have a run over hurdles because there are no chases to run in. Three miles would be too far in what might be hard work ground and I’m thinking of coming back into the Fighting Fifth because that reopens on Monday.

“I wouldn’t worry about Constitution Hill first time out.”

Both Constitution Hill and Shishkin were left with the prospect of nowhere to lay their head having abandoned their trip to Gosforth Park just south of the north east on Friday.

However, Henderson revealed he was inundated with offers after his appeal on television, with the high-class duo eventually bunkering down on Town Moor overnight.

“They had a stay in Doncaster last night, but I don’t think they went down to the hotel for a few pints,” quipped Henderson.

“The camaraderie of racing was at its best as soon as I said on television I was looking for a stable and had two horses with no bed, the people who came forward were unbelievable.

“Ann Duffield rang me from Barbados, Doncaster rang me, Hexham rang me, Karl Burke rang me. It was unbelievable and I could have gone Malton, Middleham, anywhere.

“The one condition was I got the horses back in the morning!”

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